FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Date: February 12, 2002

         Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716

UIS’ College Democrats to host attorney general debate

SPRINGFIELD – College Democrats at the University of Illinois at Springfield will host a debate between John Schmidt and Lisa Madigan -- Democratic candidates in the upcoming primary election for the office of Illinois Attorney General -- at 8 p.m. Friday, February 22, in Brookens Auditorium on the UIS campus. The hour-long debate will be moderated by Charles Wheeler III, associate professor and director of UIS’ Public Affairs Reporting program. Panelists will be Jennifer Fuller, reporter/anchor for WTAX; Mark McDonald, public relations coordinator with the Prairie Heart Institute; and Adriana Colindres, reporter with the State Journal-Register.

Schmidt, 58, is a lawyer from Chicago who has a long history of public service. Madigan, 35, is a state senator from Chicago and the daughter of speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan.

The format will be: three-minute opening statements by each candidate (order chosen by coin flip), followed by two-minute responses, one-minute rebuttals, 30 seconds for rebuttal responses, and three-minute closing statements. The order of questions will alternate.

Tickets to the debate are free and can be requested from the UIS College Democrats at or by phone at (217) 547-1579.

Wheeler is a veteran newsman who came to UIS following a 24-year career covering state government and politics for the Chicago Sun-Times, including 19 years in the paper’s Statehouse bureau.

McDonald has been involved in media relations, public affairs, and the news media for 20 years -- as a television reporter and anchor, head of the Illinois State Police Office of Public Information, in his present position, and as host of the program “Lawmakers with Mark McDonald,” a public television talk show that concentrates on issues of state government and public policy.

Fuller covers the legislature in Springfield for WTAX and for the Illinois Radio Network. At Southern Illinois University-Carbondale she was student news director and reporter for WSIU-FM and also reported for the student television station.

Colindres has been with the SJ-R since 1997. She previously worked for the Peoria Journal Star and the Galesburg Register-Mail. She is presently assigned to cover state government, with a focus on news of particular interest to the Peoria region.


Note to editors:

Media check-in will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center Restaurant (located on the lower level), which will also serve as the pressroom. Limited seats will be available for the media in the auditorium during the debate. Live television coverage is being arranged.

A post-debate press conference (15 minutes per candidate, order chosen by coin flip) will begin at 9:15 p.m.


For further information, call Neil Calderon at 547-1579 or page 293-1387.